White Sox were once rumored to be the frontrunner to sign a top free agent but now they’re rumored to not be interested in offering record-breaking contracts.
Chicago White Sox fans have been on a roller coaster of emotions over the past week. After the team was rumored to be a frontrunner to sign free agent superstar Bryce Harper, Buster Olney of ESPN caused some worry amongst some Sox fans on Saturday.
With the Sox rumored to be interested in signing Harper or the other free agent superstar available this offseason in Manny Machado, fans are hopeful for a bright future for the team. However, there have been many critics from opposing fans to irrelevant reporters from CBS Sports Network who can’t fathom the possibility of Harper signing with the Sox.
On Friday, the Sox traded for Yonder Alonso from the Cleveland Indians. Although the Sox aren’t in need of another first baseman, the addition of Alonso is interesting as he is the brother-in-law of Machado. Now many fans are speculating the Sox will entice Machado to sign with them because of Alonso, while other fans are upset at the last two moves made by the team to sign catcher James McCann and trading for a first baseman.
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Olney’s news on Saturday didn’t make things better. Olney wrote in his article on ESPN.com (subscription required) that the Sox reportedly have their limits in how much they’re willing to offer Harper and Machado. However, with all of the recent rumors of the Sox being the frontrunners to sign Harper to the team not willing to offer any record-breaking contracts, there appears to be a lot of misdirection happening. The Sox haven’t signed a player to a contract more than $68 million. But the team has been involved in attempting to sign premier free agents in the past.
Despite the Sox never having signed a player to a contract more than $68 million, their payroll flexibility allows the team to be very aggressive in pursuing free agents. No one knows what the Sox are offering Harper or Machado but the players and the front office. While some fans have become rather impatient this offseason, it will be up to free agents on whether they want to sign with the Sox or not.
Sox fans have been wanting to see a winning team perform on the south side for a while now. With the team’s current rebuild entering its third year, there should be more young prospects that will make an impact with the Sox in 2019 and 2020. Adding a superstar like Harper or Machado could accelerate the success of the Sox rebuilding efforts.
Rick Hahn and the Sox front office aren’t likely going to show their hand in revealing what their limits will be in offering Harper or Machado contracts. The Sox could very well, however, be orchestrating this misdirection through the media. This is an important offseason for the Sox and I wouldn’t be surprised if the front office purposely fed some misinformation to the media to make it appear that they have limits on what they will offer free agents.
This offseason has been a wild ride already and we’re still in December. Sox fans will have to remain patient although it’s hard to do so when your favorite team could add one or two of the top free agents before the start of next season. Expect there to be some more misdirection happening until Harper or Machado eventually sign with a team.